511 Gateway
Empowering Commuters with Accurate, Real-Time Transit and Transportation Information

The Project

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) partnered with Kalamuna to convert a custom application into an open source system. MTC’s API Proxy system aggregates real-time traffic and transit information from 27 San Francisco Bay Area agencies and delivers it to multiple consumers including Google Maps, Bing, and the Commission’s own 511.org. We achieved high impact results for a complex, high-availability public system. 

We partnered with Tyk, an API platform management company, to deliver an updated API system that improved security, accessibility, and maintenance. Within a month after launch, MTC reported easier maintenance and accessibility compliance, with the new API system proving to be reliable and secure.

The Big Goal

For over five decades, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has been dedicated to fostering a seamless and efficient transportation system across the San Francisco Bay Area. The 511.org gateway serves a diverse population, providing real-time traffic and transit information to millions of users. MTC wanted to ensure their API system was reliable, secure, and accessible, meeting the needs of both daily commuters and occasional travelers.

Ultimately,  we met our goal to empower people to make informed transportation decisions in real-time. This involved a highly collaborative effort to restructure the API system, modernize the deployment platform, and ensure smooth integration with the 511.org website, all while maintaining the platform's usability and reliability and improving security.

Since launching in February 2023, the new API Gateway successfully delivered over 325 million API-supported calls for an overall success rate of 99.88%.

Enhance and modernize the API proxy system
support diagram

MTC’s legacy API proxy system had reached end-of-life and could no longer be updated or confidently maintained. We developed an open source API Gateway utilizing Tyk to replace the system. We developed  24 custom  APIs that replicated the existing functionality of the custom Python application. We also wrote custom middleware in Go to manipulate data in real-time, and integrate the APIs into the 511.org website. The result was an open source API system with clear documentation, making maintenance easier for MTC and ensuring reliable real-time information for the Bay Area's transportation network.

Boosting transportation tech performance
Tyk interface

To help MTC manage their new API system more efficiently, we implemented a customized Lando development environment, alongside swift agile methodology project principles, that boosted overall performance at every phase of work. We developed Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment tools and processes (CI/CD) and container-based infrastructure to achieve parity between remote and local environments. These enhancements streamlined the development, testing, and deployment processes, making it easier for MTC to maintain and update the system.

Improve support and maintenance processes
support diagram

Thankfully, the Kalamuna team is no stranger to inheriting complex software with thin documentation. In addition to modernizing the development and deployment processes and producing new, clean, easy-to-follow documentation, Kalamuna also developed a suite of testing and health checks to monitor all the different functions and features of the API Gateway, alerting the team of engineers and managers should anything go wrong. By modernizing deployments and producing comprehensive documentation for MTC and the technical teams, MTC now truly owns their solution – a central tenet of our work with governments in particular.

Final Thoughts
website on desktop and mobile

Together with MTC, we reached remarkable milestones in creating a modern and robust API system that caters to the dynamic transportation information needs of the bustling San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks to the Kalamuna team, MTC can embrace the future with confidence, knowing that their transportation information platform is built for long-term success.